CT Day 30/CDT: Into the San Juans

I had planned to spend just one night in Lake City to pick up my resupply box and other provisions, then return to the Colorado Trail on the next day’s noon shuttle to Spring Creek Pass. I kept hearing about the near-record monsoon, and was continuously checking the weather on my phone. The forecast was always the same – rain and thunderstorms starting early every afternoon. After the first 10 miles I would be near or above 12,000 feet continuously for 35 miles. I ended up staying for two unplanned zero days in Lake City.

I had enjoyed revisiting my family’s favorite vacation town from my childhood. The bakery on the other side of town was well worth the mile walk from my campground every morning. I had met Bill, who was doing a1000+ mile LASH hike on the CDT, earlier on trail and it was fun to hang out with him in town for a couple days. I found Lake City to be a super hiker-friendly town, and local merchants even took turns volunteering to drive the daily hiker shuttle to Spring Creek Pass using their own vehicles. I was a little disappointed to be leaving on Sunday as I would miss that night’s free community hiker dinner, hosted weekly by the Presbyterian church.

I was in touch with Lucky at the hostel and he let me know that hikers were still going back out on trail every day. I had built a couple contingency days into my time away from work, which I had just used up with my double zero. I could see I was “losing my mojo” to get back on trail. Although the CT is a much smaller endeavor, I had read Zach Davis’ book “Pacific Crest Trials” to help mentally prepare for my hike. I thankfully had written out Zach’s suggested lists and saved them to my phone. I read my “I am thru-hiking the Colorado Trail because…” list on the noon shuttle back to Spring Creek Pass.

There was a trail magic canopy set up after the first mile on trail, but I just stopped for a few minutes and started right back out. The weather forecast proved correct and after another mile I could see a wall of rain headed my way. There was thankfully no lighting, so I hiked on through the rain. I had only planned to hike in about 9 miles this afternoon and wanted to get settled into camp as soon as possible in case a thunderstorm rolled in. After hiking past the most sheep I had ever seen and some modest climbing, I reached a good camping area at the edge of a meadow with water nearby. I met a pair friendly hikers there ahead of me who were happy to share there campsite. Their CT attempt the prior year had been interrupted when one of them broke an ankle on-trail, and they were back at it this year.

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